From the Incorporated Limits

Peter Mishler

The freeway rumbles
the mulch at nightfall.
Black leaves trundle
under the earth in silence.
I hear their suffocating.
This is the thoroughfare
of the child: her bedsheet
crowning her shoulders,
she’s led by the coughing
of oars on water,
her friends all gathered
to cut and strip
the bark from the birches
for bracelets, for cuffs.
The self-appointed
countess of them whines,
betrayed as she is
by her land and her people.
Her wrists are wilting
in fetters of wood.
Low-pitched and dampened,
a canal-song unfolds.
In concrete, a pattern
of flames on the levee wall.
Over the water, the voices
of children announcing
another kingdom allayed.

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Peter  Mishler

Peter Mishler was born in New Jersey and lives in Kansas City, where he teaches and serves as an editor for Drunken Boat. His work has been featured in Conjunctions, The Literary Review, and Public Pool, and was selected for the Best New Poets series. This is his first book. (Author photo by Jennifer Wetzel)

“The poems in Fludde make the uncanny uncanny again, no small feat in an era in which reality surpasses the imagination at every turn. It’s when we’re closer to being persuaded into thinking that the role of invention is to come up with tools to best convey real life’s inconceivable scenarios that we most need our imaginings. Mishler’s roam defiantly free, as in the realm of the oneiric and children’s fabulations. This book is incredible.”
—Mónica de la Torre

“In this uncompromising collection, it is understood that shades of the prison house begin to close upon the growing self, and that the sound of the chimneysweeper’s broom is “-weep -weep.” There’s a powerful moral imagination at work in Fludde, and its poems are darkly and passionately self-knowing about the consequences of how the childhood self is, as it grows, incorporated into the world around it…. It’s a joy to experience Mishler’s individual skill, his inventiveness, his beautiful knowing versification.”
—David Ferry

“Full of the feral joy of invention and profoundly animated, Fludde makes us feel, as only poetry can, that we’ve found a companion for our dream life. I’d say this is good news.”
—Dean Young

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